Modi Stresses On ‘Counter Terrorism’ In Meeting With Mattis, Tillerson

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his meeting with Secretary of State United States of America Rex W. Tillerson and Secretary of Defence Corps General James Mattis discussed ways to counter terrorism effectively.

Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Gopal Bagley on Monday said that in both the meetings, the leaders recognized how the menace of terrorism has affected the two nations and the world over the years.

Bagley further said that both the meetings conveyed the warmth of the relationship and strong desires to strengthen the multi dimensional global strategic partnership between the two countries.

“In meeting with Secretary of State United States of America Rex W. Tillerson, he conveyed that U.S. President Trump is eagerly waiting to meet Prime Minister Modi. The idea of strengthening India-US partnership in strategic as well as economic front was discussed by Secretary Tillerson and the idea was welcomed and endorsed by our Prime Minister.

There was strong focus on terrorism and counter terrorism. It was clear that given the challenges that the two countries have faced and continue to face due to this global menace of terrorism. The discussion was held on the line that how the two sides have cooperated in countering terrorism,” said Bagley.

“Secretary of Defence Corps General James Mattis discussed the situation in Indo-Pacific, situation in Asia-Pacific. There was discussion on terrorism and counter terrorism. There was also a discussion held about situation in Afghanistan on the line that how that situation has evolved and what the two countries can do together,” he added.

Baglay also welcomed Washington’s decision to designate Hizbul Chief Mohammad Yusuf Shah, also known as Syed Salahuddin, as a ‘Specially Designated Global Terrorist.’ “In that sense we would welcome this notification and also underlines strongly that both India and US face threat of terrorism and are working together to counter this threat,” he said.

The spokesperson added that this move by the U.S. vindicates India’s long standing position that cross border terrorism from Pakistan has been behind the disturbances created in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Salahuddin is the senior leader of the militant group Hizbul Mujahideen. In September, 2016, Salahuddin vowed to block any peaceful resolution to the Kashmir conflict, threatened to train more Kashmiri suicide bombers, and vowed to turn the Kashmir valley “into a graveyard for Indian forces.”

Under Salahuddin’s tenure as senior Hizbul leader, the terror outfit has claimed responsibility for several attacks, including the April 2014 explosives attack in Jammu and Kashmir, which injured 17 people.

The U.S. State Department said in a statement, “”Department of State has designated Mohammad Yusuf Shah, also known as (AKA) Syed Salahuddin, as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) under Section 1(b) of Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which imposes sanctions on foreign persons who have committed, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States.

Later in the day, Prime Minister Modi and U.S. President Donald Trump will have a one-on-one meeting in the Oval Office of the White House for 20-minutes between 3.50 p.m. and 4.10 p.m. (EST) (that is tentatively between 1.20 a.m. and 1.40 a.m. IST. As per an official advisory, this 20-minute meeting will be followed by an hour-long delegation-level talks between the two sides from 4.10 p.m. to 5.10 p.m. (EST) (i.e. 1.40 a.m. and 2.40 a.m. IST on Tuesday June 27)in the Cabinet Room of the White House.

The two leaders will then proceed to the Rose Garden to deliver a joint opening statements to the media between 5.10 p.m. and 5.30 p.m. (EST) (i.e. 2.40 a.m. and 3 a.m. IST on Tuesday June 27).

Following the joint opening statements to the media, both leaders and their respective delegations will attend a cocktail reception hosted by Vice President Mike Pence on the State Floor of the White House between 5.30 p.m. and 6 p.m. (EST) (i.e. 3 a.m. and 3.30 a.m. IST on Tuesday June 27).